The College Board is having a really bad year.
As students came out of the SAT on the East Coast yesterday, many hit the online forums devoted to discussing the test to discuss questions. And even before the West-Coast students had left their exam rooms, it became evident that the form most of them were given was actually one that had been leaked online months earlier. Multiple students reported that they had practiced on this very test. How serious is this situation? Very.
I can't tell you how many students I've heard utter some variation of the following: "I took a practice test and my parents flipped out at how low the score was. I'm taking the test in [exceedingly close month], and I have to raise my score by at least [absurdly large amount]. I really need to raise my score fast."
College Board responded yesterday to the #rescoreJuneSAT complaints with a FAQ page. It is a document which has been very carefully worded, presumably by PR professionals. It makes technically accurate statements while dodging the serious substance of the complaints.
TLDR: The evidence to tell isn't public at this point. It would be much easier to tell if College Board released specific technical data on the test.
Reddit and Twitter have been in an uproar about the results from the June 2018 SAT. Many students are upset that missing only a handful of questions has dropped their scores precipitously, and have been expressing their outrage with the hastag #rescorejunesat.
In my last post, I argued that the SAT essay might be inappropriately difficult for its intended purposes and that floor effects make it essentially worthless for distinguishing among lower-ability students. In this post, I'm going to argue that the SAT essay score appears similarly unhelpful for distinguishing among high-ability students.
The essay on the revised SAT marks a dramatic departure from the old essay. The old essay was a 25-minute, holistically scored exercise in persuasive writing. The new essay is a 50-minute, analytically scored rhetorical analysis.
Several years ago, I created something I called a "Real Grammar Quiz." It was born of my irritation with the many so-called grammar quizzes available on the Internet which treat "grammar" as a catch-all term for "writing usage" and focus mostly on spelling, punctuation, and diction rather than grammar in the strict sense. This quiz has proven to be continuously popular since I released it. I've even received reports of a company using it to help screen job applicants for their knowledge of formal grammar.
So for those who are drawn to such things, I've created a second version of the quiz. This is a parallel form to the earlier quiz, with all new questions but constructed with approximately the same balance of question types and (I hope) difficulty.